In the New International Version (NIV) 1 Corintians 11:13-15 reads:
Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not the very nature of things teach you that if a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.In Dutch there is a book Vrouwen in de gemeente van Christus (1997) by George and Dora Winston. It is a translation but I was unable to find out of what. It can't be their Recovering Biblical Ministry by Women because that book was published in 2003... The Dutch title translates to Women in the church of Christ.
Update: In the comments J. Mel identifies the two books as the same, but the Dutch edition was published earlier.
In this (1997) book they come with a remarkable anwer to the question: how long is long?
According to them it is...
... clear that the woman's hair must be long in comparision with her husband's and that his hair must be short in comparision with her's. (page 213 of the Dutch edition, my own translation.)About at that point I pulled out in reading their book. Is this kind of hairsplitting really part of the christian lifestyle?
But I must admit, it is far from easy to understand these verses.
- In what way does nature teach us these things? When I let the very nature of my hair go it's way, my hair will become as long as my wife's hair (or even longer...) With lions, the male is the one with long hair. Some tribes in Africa have such frizzy hair, it does not grow long at all.
- A Nazarite, someone who devoted himself to the Lord with a special vow, was not allowed to shave himself at all (Numbers 6:5.) Samson had to keep his hair long. And when we think of John the Baptizer and even Jesus himself, we often think of men with long hair (although I couln't find any Biblical evidence for that.)
Quite a different approach is to not translate the Greek here as interogative. According to William Welty there are good reasons to translate the original as declaratives instead of interogatives. The verses then read:
It is proper for a woman to pray to God without head coverings. Nature in no way teaches on the one hand that if a man has hair it puts him to shame nor does it teach on the other that a woman's hair is her glory. All of this is true because hair is given as a substitute for man-made coverings. (1 Corintians 11:13-15 ISV)
Also see Suzanne's post of a few days ago.
The original post in Dutch can be found here.